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Published On: Sat, Feb 23rd, 2013

Djibouti Union party declares parliamentary election victory, but the opposition rejected the vote

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Djibouti (ANN)Djibouti’s ruling coalition declared victory on Saturday in the Red Sea state’s parliamentary election, but the opposition rejected the vote as flawed and said it planned demonstrations to protest against the outcome.

The disputed result raises the possibility of instability in Djibouti, which hosts the United States’ only military base in Africa and is an ally in the West’s fight against militant Islam.

Interior Minister Hassan Darar Houffaneh said provisional results showed that President Ismail Omar Guelleh’s Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP) had won 49 out of 65 seats in Friday’s election.

A spokesman for the Union of National Salvation (USN) opposition alliance said the vote was rigged. He said results were announced too quickly and there were incidences of ballot-stuffing and double voting.

“It is a joke that does not match the reality of what took place in the capital and in the regions of the interior,” Daher Ahmed Farah said.

“That the results were announced at 5.00 am when the polls closed at 7.00 pm is quite significant. The regime has cooked it and the Djiboutian population will take note.”

The ruling coalition leaders of UMP were unreachable for comment.

Farah said opposition politicians had called for protests over the vote. There was a heavy police presence in Djibouti city in a district where protesters were likely to converge.

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